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Acyclovir Topical (Zovirax) – An antiviral drug

Acyclovir topical is an antiviral drug used in the treatment of skin disease. This disease is caused by herpes simplex virus. It does not cure the disease or prevents it but it helps in slow down the growth and spread of the disease or lessens the symptoms. Once the action is slow down, the body can fight against the infection. Herpes can cause cold sores (red, fluid filled blisters) and genital herpes. Cold sores can be seen mostly near mouth or on other areas of face. It can also be rarely seen on other parts of the body like fingers, nose or inside the mouth. both are contagious. It can be transmitted from one person to another and can last for 15 days or longer.

It stays in nerve tissues. It does not produce any symptoms when it is “asleep” it can affect skin surface, lip and other area by causing blister when it is “awake”.

Types of Herpes

There are two types as follows:

  1. Herpes simplex type 1 virus – this cause cold sores – oral herpes.
  2. Herpes simplex 2 virus – mainly cause genital herpes.

Stages of herpes infection

  1. The tingle stage (Prodrome stage – day 1 & 2) – these are 1st indications. One can face burning, stinging, itching, soreness, tautness or swelling in the affected area.
  2. The blister stage (day 2 & 3) – One can see formation of multiple fluid filled blisters
  3. The weeping stage (Ulcer stage – day 4) – The blister ruptures and fluid with herpes virions are released and sore transforms into ulcer.
  4. The crusting stage (day 5 to 8) – the scabbing takes place where the infected skin is not moist.
  5. The final healing stage (day 9 to 12) – One can see the sore starts healing as the time passes on.

Acyclovir Cream

It is used in the treatment of cold sores. Cream should be applied 4 to 6 times per day for at least 4 days or as directed by physicians as soon as the symptom occurs or when the lesion appear. Each gram of zovirax 5% cream contain 5 mg of acyclovir. It is an antiviral medication which reduces the pain and severity of herpes lesion or sores.

Acyclovir Tablet (Orally)

These tablets are used in the treatment of cold sores, shingles caused by herpes zoster and chicken pox. It is also seen useful for treating genital herpes. It is taken orally as per the doctors’ prescription, mostly 2 to 5 times per day with lot of water or any fluid ( drinking ) . It is available both in capsules or suspension.

Limitation of Zovirax (Generic Name Acyclovir)

There are some limitation with the use of zovirax ,but only in very rare cases.

  1. The most important is, it cannot cure the herpes but it only helps in reducing its symptoms i.e it reduces its ability to multiply in your body. It can still be alive in body and can come back after the present blisters and other symptoms are cured.
  2. Use of acyclovir can cause nausea, vomiting, Diarrhea, headache, weakness etc in some patients.
  3. It may decrease red blood cells count in the body.
  4. It can show skin reactions.
  5. It can even cause threatening for vision.
  6. Some people can also suffer from allergic reaction like difficulty in breathing, rashes, swelling in throat and on tongue etc.
  7. Long term use of acyclovir suppressive regimens can develop acyclovir resistant HSV in infants.
  8. It does not guarantee the recurrence of the blisters after giving a long term treatment also.

Acyclovir is mostly a safe and effective medicine  and the above mentioned reactions  are very rare side effects rarely seen . A patient can be given treatment of suppressive acyclovir therapy for nearly 5 to 10 years. It may be used in pregnancy too. Acyclovir cost much lower as compared to the brand product of Zovirax. As Acyclovir cream show clear and nearly same effects as compare to brand Zovirax.